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A few ways to encourage end users to manage their data

What is the best way to encourage end users to manage data such as best practices, removal of non-value added data and unnecessary duplication of data?

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You make the users accountable for the space they are using. This can be done a number of ways.

1. The most painful (from a user perspective especially) is to institute quotas on the amount of space their files can take up. This is an increasingly common practice for controlling e-mail. The problem is that most users don't like it and it doesn't solve the core problem of making sure there isn't the necessary duplication of data (as users then shift the problem from one disk to another in order to keep within the quota).

2. A second way is to exact budgetary costs or even a service fee from departments for usage of disk array space, really a first generation storage utility approach. To do this, you'll need to select a storage resource management tool and come to agreement with business managers about what they are willing to provide financial support in exchange for capacity. And, that is easier said then done in a lot of cases.

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This was first published in January 2003

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